Earlier this year Eagles Wings Disc Golf sent a team of ten people down to Costa Rica. While there we built a disc golf course and taught many of the kids in the area to play. The reception was quite good and we were excited to see how disc golf would continue to grow in Costa Rica.
In an effort to continue the growth of the sport, we recently sent Chad Benavidez back to Costa Rica. This time, rather than focusing on building a course and teaching the kids, the main focus was teaching the sport to the local staff of Push the Rock. This was done to ensure that disc golf could continue to grow in Costa Rica without the necessity of another team of missionaries coming from the states. The local staff learned the basic throws and how to teach them to kids.
Additionally, while Chad was still in Costa Rica, the local staff had the opportunity to teach groups of kids from two more schools to play the sport of disc golf. The kids thoroughly enjoyed learning to play disc golf and took to the putting games exceptionally well. With continued opportunities for the kids to learn and play disc golf, the sport will grow in Costa Rica.
In light of that we also came into some great news. With the course we built last time and the success of clinics, the owner of a private park in San Jose showed interest in building a new disc golf course. Talks have begun to send another team from Eagles Wings to Costa Rica to build this new course and teach even more to play the sport we love. The hope is that this will lead to more time to build relationships and talk about Jesus.
As we continue to build long term relationships in Costa Rica, we can use your help. We will continue to send teams of people to Costa Rica and can always use people who are willing to donate their time to serve the Lord teaching disc golf there or working to build a new disc golf course. Additionally, we can always use new and gently used disc golf discs, bags and other equipment to leave in Costa Rica and other places that we visit. The more equipment we can send to these places the more people we will have opportunity to build relationships with. Please take the time to connect with us on Facebook and contact us here:
The 2017 Am and Jr. Worlds was an amazing gathering of some of the best Amateur disc golfers in the world, and it was a pleasure to be part of it as an organization! We had three of our full-time staff members there, and three of our junior grant recipients. There were over 600 players competing, and a jam-packed schedule for the week for all the competitors between rounds of disc golf, and fun activities for them to do. Our staff got to meet so many great people during the week, and we can’t wait to come again to this event and invest in this awesome gathering of competitors!
Jim Schultz headed up the Eagles Wings components of the event which started off with a chapel open to all competitors. To kick off the event all the players gathered for a players meeting, and our chapel was scheduled to follow. Unfortunately, the players meeting ran long, but we still had over 25 people attend to listen to a message from Jim and worship together. A local church, Edgewood Baptist Church, partnered with us and led us in a great time of singing and worship. All in all it was a greatly encouraging time of believers gathered together.
Part of the junior grant included a dinner for recipients and their families. Jim hosted the first night of competition and it was a privilege to spend this time with a wonderful group of young players. Jim got to share about Eagles Wings and one of the winners let him know of all the help she received to get to the competition; Eagles Wings was her favorite because it involved faith! Beyond the dinner, Jim got to spend at least one round with each competitor as he caddied for them and continued to build the relationship with them and their families.
After already participating in the Professional and Amateur World championships we will next head to Grand Rapids, Michigan to participate in the World Championships for the age-protected divisions. Jim will again run a chapel for the competitors, and will himself be competing!
The PDGA Amateur and Junior Disc Golf world championships is always a great gathering of disc golfers from across the world. People are there to compete in one of the largest annual disc golf tournaments for amateur disc golfers. It is a great place to meet new people, make new friends and enjoy everything disc golf.
Eagles Wings Disc Golf is excited to be part of this year’s Amateur and Junior world championships. We are looking forward to another great chapel as well as celebrating our first ever Eagles Wings Junior Disc Golf Grant winners and watching team member Elijah Hogan compete in his first Junior World Championships.
We are excited to be able to offer a chapel service at this great tournament. It will be great to connect with other believers and share the challenge of loving Jesus in the disc golf community. We will be meeting after the players meeting in a side room at the same venue.
Silas Schultz, Virginia Polkinghorne and Lydia Lyons were three of the recipients of our first ever Junior Grant. These three are being rewarded for the incredible contributions they are making to disc golf. They have helped to clean up courses in their local community and taught many the sport of disc golf. We are proud to be part of their experience at this year’s World Championships.
After spending the last two years volunteering at the PDGA Professional World Championships with Eagles Wings Disc Golf, Elijah is excited to be competing in his first PDGA Junior World Championships. Elijah has been involved with Eagles Wings Disc Golf for several years now, always part of the local events in Pennsylvania. He has traveled to two world championships to volunteer and been hit in the head once by a disc thrown by Will Schusterick. Now he will get to test his disc golf skills against the best in the world.
If you will be in the quad cities area, please make sure to connect with us as you can.
We were blessed and honored to be invited to participate in the Professional Disc Golf World Championships by the PDGA. We love investing in the larger events, and there is nothing quite like the World Championships!
On Monday night we were asked to host a clinic at Fort Gordon, a military base that was utilized for the event. Working on a military base was a first for Eagles Wings Disc Golf, and what an experience it was. We had over 100 people come out for the clinic, including a large number of active military members and their families. We had a great staff lined up that gave up their night, and tournament prep time to serve in this way. The staff included JohnE McCray, Paul McBeth, Hannah Croke, Hannah Leatherman, Lance Brown and Hunter Thomas. They did a great job sharing their knowledge of the sport, and signed quite a few autographs!
On Tuesday evening all the players gathered in a big auditorium on the base for a players meeting. Immediately following we hosted a chapel for the players and staff that wanted to join us. We had a great group come out and were blessed to have fellow disc golfer, and full-time pastor, Dave Barfield join us to share the message. He also brought his friend, Zach Anderson, to lead worship. We worshipped together, prayed together, and listened to David share about what greatness really looks like. It was a blessed time together and a great way to start the event.
Come see us if you will be at the Rocky Mountain Women’s Disc Golf Championship.
Every year the team at Eagles Wings Disc Golf tries to select at least one tournament to bring as many staff to as we can in order to run as much program as we can and to connect with each other from the different regions we are running program. This year we all gathered in Emporia, Kansas for the Glass Blown Open!
The Glass Blown Open has a long running reputation for being one of the biggest and best run tournaments of the year and have for at least the third time now been a stop on the PDGA National Tour. This year there were over 1,100 players in the tournament and many more that came as spectators and volunteers. It was the perfect opportunity for Eagles Wings Disc Golf to make an impact in the disc golf community as well as for the kingdom of God.
It started with an opportunity to partner with a local church to run a disc golf clinic for the local community. Kids, parents and people of all ages came out to learn the great sport of disc golf. Everyone had a great time. The highlight may have been one of the younger kids sinking an approach shot from about 100 feet away!
We were also able to do a service project as a team in order to prepare a course for the Junior Challenge event at the end of the Glass Blown Open week. We has a few people picking up trash and others clearing some brush around fairways. There was also considerable time put into painting lines and putting flags down to mark out of bounds as well as time building a bridge out of shipping pallets for kids to cross a small stream.
At the players meeting with most of the 1,100 players Eagles Wings was mentioned and people were invited by the main tournament director to attend our chapel service to take place after the players meeting. The publicity was amazing and unexpected and led to one of the better attended chapel service that Eagles Wings has put on. We were blessed to have a guest speaker and guest musicians help out at our chapel service. These guests were part of a missions team from Colorado that came to volunteer at the tournament.
The tournament itself was a great experience for the Eagles Wings team. Dustin Leatherman spent many long hour as an assistant course director. Jim Schultz shot two solid rounds to finish in second place in his division. Hannah Leatherman shot a solid first round followed by a very hot second round to finish as a Co-Champion of the pro women’s division. It was also a blessing to see at least two others who attended the chapel service win their respective divisions.
Even with bad weather moving in, Dustin, Hannah and Jim were also able to run the Junior event. The morning clinics had to be moved indoors but everyone had a blast. The kids braved the weather in the afternoon to complete their tournament round.
It was truly a blessing for Eagles Wings to be at the Glass Blown Open. We look forward to doing it again next year!
Yesterday was full of adventures for the team! As the week wound down and the course successfully launched, we were able to have a little fun before we headed home. Early Saturday morning, we made the three-hour trek to take a canopy tour and soak in the hot springs in La Fortuna.
The canopy tour was incredible! We ate a delicious breakfast at the canopy cafe and then readied ourselves to fly high above the trees. Altogether, there were 12 zip lines, one rope swing, and the final cable stretching a half a mile across with the rider facing down. They call it, “The Superman.” If you’ve ever wanted to know what flying feels like, we know a good place in Costa Rica!
The rest of the day was spent at Baldi Resort and Spa in La Fortuna. We ate lunch with an incredible view of the active volcano and then spent a few glorious hours soaking up the sun & Vulcan spring water. There are many pools at Baldi, the top-most ones being heated by the volcano. The lower you go in the resort, the cooler the waters. It was a relaxing way to wrap up the week.
The team is now on the way home. We’ve got a seven-hour layover in El Salvador. So far this morning, we’ve taken the time to pray together, recap and share some of the incredible lessons that we’ve learned this week. Please continue to pray for us as we spend our final hours together as a team and take the last leg of our journey home.
Short update tonight as we had a busy day and evening. In partnership with Students International we did an event at the course to officially introduce it to the community. We had about 165 people there with a big majority of them being kids. 165 people over 9 holes is not an easy thing to facilitate, but the team worked very well with our friends from SI, and we ran a great event. Everyone had a blast and it was a great way to end the week. After the kids left we had lunch and played a round with some of the SI and Push The Rock staff. We hoped to show them how fun disc golf can be, and to teach the game more in depth so they could teach others to play. It was a blessed time and we now pray the course will be used to further God’s Kingdom.
In the evening we stopped at a market to do some shopping, and had a great dinner together. It was a nice end to an extremely busy and productive week. We had a great time together this evening studying, sharing and worshiping. Now we head to bed to prepare for an early morning where we will leave at 6:00 am. Tomorrow we will be going on a canopy zipline tour, followed by a visit to the hot springs in Baldi. We will share more about that tomorrow! Check out pictures from our big course event here:
This morning the team woke up early and after a quick breakfast started the journey to La Reforma, a large prison outside of San Jose. We did two different clinics for groups of 15 boys at a time. While we were in a soccer field surrounded by barbed wire, and armed guards the clinic went great. Our team did an excellent job teaching and interacting with the boys. It was really cool to see their smiles when they made a good throw or hit a putt. One of the team members gave a passionate testimony at the end making sure they knew we cared deeply for them. One of the boys shared with us, through a translator, how much he appreciate us taking the time to come. Again the Push The Rock Costa Rica staff was surprised that they did not ask to play soccer, and that some even asked if they could play again in the future!
In the afternoon we all went to the course to complete our work there. The baskets were completed which was a great answer to prayer! All the tee markers and tee signs were installed and the course looks great. We did not have all the tools we hoped for, so there is still things we would like to see get done, BUT there is a beautiful course in the ground. We had a few baskets in the ground as we worked and park-goers kept stopping to ask what they were, and curious kids would go up and play with the chains. We have spent a lot of time praying for the course and hope that you will do the same. Our pray is that it would become a great tool for ministry in this community, and would allow our missionaries here to share the love of Christ in this unique way.
One of the greatest things about the trip has been our “team times” together. Each night we get together to talk about the day, study 1 John, pray and worship together. It is really clear that God brought this group of people together for this purpose as the personalities, and skill sets have worked together perfectly. Almost all of the team members are thinking through what ministry looks like for them in their personal lives and it is really exciting to think about the potential this group has to share Christ in the disc golf community.
Tomorrow is a big day. We will be doing a course opening event where we will be teaching and playing the course with the community. Many people have been invited so we are hoping for a large turnout. We look forward to sharing more with you about this tomorrow!
For pictures and videos check out our facebook page here:
Today was another day that had the team split up between course building and running clinics. We switched up roles so that everyone could have the full experience. In the morning we spent about an hour and a half with 35 kids teaching them in a soccer field by their school. It was a beautiful setting seeing the mountains in the background surrounding the field. We again partnered with Students International who sent a number of their staff. Translators did an excellent job, and our staff continues to pick up phrases that allow us to be more effective in our training. We did have one disc casualty when one of the local helpers launched a disc over the fence, across a busy road and on top of a sea of roofs. Pretty sure we will never see that one again, but the excitement that shot created was worth it!
The team spent a lot of time painting tee signs, tee markers, digging holes and pouring concrete in the morning. It was grueling work in the hot sun, but the team worked very well together and got a lot done. The course is taking shape, and we can’t wait to get the baskets in the ground. It is a lot of fun working together to design a course, and using the input of many to create something that we hope will have a great impact in the area.
At lunch we switched crews and did another clinic. This clinic was in a small courtyard in the middle of a school. Not an ideal setting for disc golf, but we taught A LOT of putting and did as many putting games as we could think of. The kids were again very enthusiastic and enjoyed competing against each other and the coaches. Many of the kids told us they plan to join us on Friday when we open the course, and we are looking forward to a large group coming out. The course crew did some more work, and we feel good about ending the course tomorrow afternoon and hopefully installing the baskets. Again we ask that you pray with us that everything would come together!
Tomorrow morning we will have a cool opportunity to teach disc golf in a prison. This will be a first for Eagles Wings disc golf anywhere, so we are excited to make history here in Costa Rica! After that we will be back to working on the course and hope to sneak in a round at the end of the day!
Check us out on facebook for pictures and video!